Every new year I pick five areas to concentrate on, five areas that I believe represent the highest leverage points of personal or professional growth. At the beginning of each day, I meditate upon how I can best live those principles in the coming day. I visualize myself—in vivid detail—responding as my best self. At the end of each day, I reflect upon how well I lived up to my goals, often writing my thoughts in my journal. Was I my best self? How well did I do on the pop quizzes life throws our way? If I stumbled or fell, how quickly and sincerely did I recover? What were the triggers? Or what thought patterns or internal chatter led me astray? Even if true, were those thoughts or viewpoints the most helpful ones for me to have? Would other thoughts may help me respond better, more effectively? Was I proud of what the behavior I taught that day?

My last post, “2012’s Five: A Look Back,” was a reflection on 2012’s Five Power Thoughts. My Five Power Thoughts for 2013 in many ways build on 2012’s.

2013’s Five:
#1  Shift Focus
#2  Open Up
#3  Release
#4  Live My Blogs
#5  Serve

Obviously, each phrase is designed to tap into a deeper well of knowledge.

Shift Focus has multiple meanings. One is that, at 60, I’ve made a decision to switch the focus of my life from business and entrepreneur to family man. I’ve promoted myself to chairman of the board of The Collier Companies and I’m cutting back to a maximum of 40- to 50-hour weeks. Being an effective chair involves a whole different skill set than actually running the business day to day which will be a growth opportunity to master. On a second level, shift focus means that many times our moods, our take on a situation or life depends on what part on which we we choose to focus: “Two men looked out a window, one saw bars, another saw stars.” Is the part of the situation I’m choosing to focus my attention and energies on the most effective part for me on which to focus? Shift focus bears a tangential relationship to last year’s “C5: Cool, Calm, Chilling, Collected, Centered.”

Open Up: Try different things, be open to doing things differently. It is easy for me to get locked into a routine. Open up is an evolution of last year’s “Daily, Do One Thing Boldly Different.”

Release:  Oh yes, letting go. A biggie. “The past is over, it can not touch me now.” “I’ll get over it sometime, why not now?” The Buddha says it is not our attachments per se that hold us back but rather our unwillingness to let go when the time comes.

Live My Blogs: To know and not do is to not know. The challenge in life is to do as well as we know, especially when tired or stressed. I write blogs to share and also to remind myself, to keep in the forefront of my mind the vital truths foundational to being the best I can be, to doing my personal bit to help make the world a better place. One hope is that having put it out there, I will be even more motivated to live up to it.

Serve: Was I a good leader today? A good role model? A good human being? Did I honor the social contract? Give back intelligently and effectively? Leave the world a bit better for having lived another day? Shared a smile? Showed appreciation? Acknowledged other’s good intentions?